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Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Engineering Design Process (Student Version)

The engineering design process involves a series of steps that lead to the development of a new product or system.

STEP 1: Identify the Problem
Students should state the problem in their own words. Example: How can I design a __________ that will __________?

STEP 2: Identify Criteria and Constraints
Students should specify the design requirements (criteria) and should list the limits on the design due to available resources and the environment (constraints).

STEP 3: Brainstorm Possible Solutions
Each student in the group should sketch his or her own ideas as the group discusses ways to solve the problem. Labels and arrows should be included to identify parts and how they might move. These drawings should be quick and brief.

STEP 4: Generate Ideas
In this step, each student should develop two or three ideas more thoroughly. Students should create new drawings that are orthographic projections (multiple views showing the top, front and one side) and isometric drawings (three-dimensional depiction). These are to be drawn neatly, using rulers to draw straight lines and to make parts proportional. Parts and measurements should be labeled clearly.

STEP 5: Explore Possibilities
The developed ideas should be shared and discussed among the team members. Students should record pros and cons of each design idea directly on the paper next to the drawings.

STEP 6: Select an Approach
Students should work in teams and identify the design that appears to solve the problem the best. Students should write a statement that describes why they chose the solution. This should include some reference to the criteria and constraints identified above.

STEP 7: Build a Model or Prototype
Students will construct a full-size or scale model based on their drawings.

STEP 8: Refine the Design
Students will examine and evaluate their prototypes or designs based on the criteria and constraints. Groups may enlist students from other groups to review the solution and help identify changes that need to be made. Based on criteria and constraints, teams must identify any problems and proposed solutions.

Source: NASA

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